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Albertsons will close two Seattle stores

Amazon Go: new locations in Chicago and San Francisco

US: Southeastern Grocers plan of reorganization confirmed by court
Southeastern Grocers, LLC ("SEG" or "the Company") announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (the "Court") has confirmed the Company's Amended Prepackaged Chapter 11 Plan (the "Plan"). The Company expects to complete its financial restructuring process and emerge from Chapter 11 in the coming weeks, after the conditions of the Plan are satisfied. As previously announced, the Plan will decrease overall debt levels by approximately $600mln (including $522mln of debt exchanged for equity in the reorganized Company) and strengthen the Company's balance sheet, allowing SEG to invest in the business to further support its financial health and long-term success.

US: ‘Leery’ customers prompt Walmart to shelve self-scanning service

Walmart Inc. has ended a service where customers could ring up their own purchases, showing that old habits die hard even in the digital age. The retailer had offered its so-called “Mobile Scan & Go” technology in about 150 Walmart stores, after a successful rollout across its Sam’s Club warehouse chain. But while the service worked in Sam’s - which carries fewer products, all of which are prepackaged - it confused some Walmart shoppers, who found that bagging, weighing and then scanning items including fresh fruit and vegetables was a hassle.

US: Albertsons closing two Seattle stores

Albertsons said late Monday it will close two unprofitable grocery stores in Seattle’s north end next month, citing increasing costs related to city of Seattle regulations implemented over the last three years. A spokeswoman said the June 16 closures of a Safeway store in Greenwood and an Albertsons on Aurora Avenue North was not in response to the head tax passed Monday. In 2014, Safeway and Albertsons merged under Albertsons’ parent company, AB Acquisition, a unit of an investor group led by New York private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

US: iFresh offers Western Union services at four locations
iFresh, Inc. ("iFresh" or "the Company"), a leading Asian American supermarket chain and online grocer, announced that it now provides Western Union services at four of its New York supermarkets. Customers can now utilize Western Union services including money transfers, bill payments, and money orders at the following iFresh locations: 128 Mott St. New York, NY 10013; 75 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002; 142-41 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11354 and 6023 8th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11220. "We are excited that our relationship with Western Union allows us to offer expanded services to our customers and local communities," said Mr. Long Deng, Chairman and CEO of iFresh. "The availability of Western Union services in our supermarkets will make it easier for our diverse customer base to transfer money across the country and the world."

Amazon Go coming to Chicago & San Francisco

E-commerce retailer Amazon will open new automated Amazon Go locations in Chicago and San Francisco, although specifics on when the units might open have not been revealed. Amazon Go is a no-checkout brick-and-mortar convenience store. There is currently only one Amazon Go location in downtown Seattle. The 1,800-square-foot unit has been open to the public since January, but it underwent employee testing for about a year before its public opening.

Italy: Coop Alleanza 3.0 reports losses in 2017

The cooperative reported total revenues rose 3.9% to €4.83bln, driven by franchised stores, with company owned sites seeing sales fall by 1.6% to €4.1bln. Following a substantial investment programme in 2017, Coop Alleanza 3.0 said it generated a loss of €37.6mln in the year, following a profit of €6.6mln in 2016. The cooperative said the loss was ‘in line with expectations’ as part of its 2017 to 2019 strategic plan, which saw it invest €180mln in 2017. The loss came as it opened five new stores, updated 35 existing stores (seven hypermarkets and 28 supermarkets) and the roll out of the online Easycoop solution, alongside the cutting of prices on shoppers’ everyday needs. In the short-term Coop Alleanza 3.0 said it would continue to invest in its operations. As part of this it aimed to create a single identity across its operations, improve its productivity, which will see the closure of some 30 supermarkets by 2021, and sustain price cuts to bring them in line with the market average.

Germany: Metro seeks Russia revamp through bulk discount shift

German retailer Metro said it hopes to stabilize its shrinking Russian business in the coming months after overhauling management and introducing bulk discounts to attract more independent traders and restaurant owners. Metro’s shares tumbled last month when it lowered its earnings and sales outlook, citing a poor performance at its Russian operations and the impact of the failure to reach a new wage agreement for employees at its Real hypermarkets.

China: JD invests $306mln in supply chain partner ESR
Chinese e-commerce giant JD has invested US$306mln in its supply chain partner ESR, creating an alliance the two companies say will enables best-in-class logistics services for customers and businesses in China and beyond. ESR, a pan-Asian logistics real estate developer, owner, and operator focused on key metropolitan areas was co-founded by senior management and Warburg Pincus. It has $12bln worth of assets owned or under development across China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and India and capital and fund management offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

O'Key aims to emulate Lidl to fill Russian retail niche
O’Key hopes its Russian discounters can mirror the rise in Europe of German-owned chains Lidl and Aldi as Russian consumers count their pennies, its chief executive said. Russia’s economy has returned to growth after two consecutive years of recession sparked by a drop in oil prices and sanctions, but shoppers are watching prices closely. The company plans to open 30 discounters Da! (which stands for Yes!) this year, accelerating expansion in 2019 and beyond. It had 67 Da! stores as of the end of the first quarter.

Spain's Eroski to convert Balearic Islands stores to Contigo format

Spanish retail group Eroski has announced it will convert 22 supermarkets on the Balearic Islands to its Contigo (‘with you’) format in 2018. The group will invest €8mln during 2018 to adapt its Balearic Islands to the new business model, which aims to provide a more personalised customer experience. The conversions will put particular focus on the ‘fresh’ section in Eroski stores, which emphasises product variety and Eroski’s commitment to local, seasonal foods.

Philippines: Robinsons Retail nets P1.2bln, up 21.7%
Gokongwei-led retailer Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) grew its first quarter net income by 21.7% year-on-year to P1.2bln on higher sales and improved margins. Three-month operating income rose by 10% year-on-year on the back of a 20-basis point gain in gross margins and same store sales growth (SSSG) of 6.4% for the period, coupled with an increase in foreign exchange. The supermarket segment reported an 8% year-on-year expansion in the first quarter SSSG while specialty stores, do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement, convenience stores, drugstores and department stores grew SSSG at the pace of 10.8%, 5%, 5.5%, 2.4% and 0.9%, respectively.

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